Your money and your clothes and everything else that’s fit to print

With things which have transpired in my life since the new year — injury, loss of a brother, illness of another brother, a longtime friend who has been hospitalized for two months after a serious stroke, and not to mention work — I have strayed from writing this blog here and other tasks elsewhere. It isn’t as if I have stopped, rather I have taken days off and just let something that I enjoy to slide.

Now that we’re in the midst of hurricane season I need to make some plans regarding whether to go or to stay should a hurricane come knocking on my door. I must also figure out whether I should pursue freelance opportunities should such a weather story appear.

Likewise, I need to get inside the blog and see what requires some tinkering. I have already tinkered a bit with my links, a.k.a. “blogroll.” The great site that first appeared shortly before I began blogging and was one with a great many more viewers than mine, In The Pink Texas, has suspended operations. The wonderfully clever and entertaining Eileen Smith of Austin has pursued an equally daunting and demanding task: motherhood. Smith and her husband adopted a baby earlier this year. Just recently Eileen wrote that she was shutting what was once one of my favorite mid-afternoon pick-me-ups although I wouldn’be surprised to see her return someday with a bigger and better literary platform.

It is time for me to also thin the herd even more of blogrolls that either no longer produce for one reason or the other, or else to place on hiatus until I discover where the link will fit in my reading pattern. I will likewise add more sites to pass on to those who stop by this inner-web space. I also am more than ever eager to start my book, but I still have no idea what it will be about or in what genre it shall exist.

That sounds like some big ambition, to me at least, especially now, during which time I am about as energetic as a bear during hibernation. But one must start before a task can officially makes its way. That’s the way it goes, I am told, first your money, then your clothes.

Back in the saddle again

Welcome back. I say that I know not why other than the fact I finally have a laptop on which to bang upon. Well, not literally bang upon. I’ve grown rather tired of paying for new laptops although it is a fact that I needed a new laptop and not merely wanted one. I neither needed nor particularly wanted a new smart phone — I have had one for a week now — although the net cost per month will not be exceedingly more. Plus, in the past week or so I was growing weary of lacking a computer. The iPhone did in a pinch.

Staying home with little to do on vacation time and with fewer resources to do nothing I have come to realize that I need to once again make money as a writer. It has been too long that I have done so and even though my part-time job takes up nearly as many hours as a full-time one a differential in pay does exist.

If, in the future that you find me spending less time here, it certainly does’t mean that I don’t love you anymore. Or any less. Although, I don’t suppose I could have spent much less time here in the past couple of weeks.

Best of luck to all my friends in the northeast where Sandy is howling down upon that area!

Real college legends and other tales to see the week out

Hello out there! Tommy can you hear me? That’s from The Who’s ground-breaking rock opera, “Tommy.” You, know, ” … the deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball.” That came out when I was in high school, or my between junior high and high school. Sometime back when I was a “yewt.” What’s a “yewt,” you might ask? That is, if you are the late actor Fred Gwynne. Sorry you have to watch “My Cousin VInny” if you don’t know.

The song Tommy reminds me of a guy I knew in college named Tommy who purported to be a deaf guy. The problem was, according to my friends who knew him better than I did, he really wasn’t deaf. He was one of those living college legends I guess every institution has. I knew several of those legends.

One such guy had parents who were paying his way to college and who bought a condo in which he resided. This guy didn’t work. He also didn’t go to class — for several years. We remained friends until he broke into the mobile home I lived in — climbed through the living room window while I slept — and stole my crappy TV and radio. I called the cops later that morning when I was at work and while I spoke to the cops, it came to me, SOB (we’ll use that as his name). It just popped in my head SOB was the type of person who would do that as a joke. It wasn’t that funny to me. It wasn’t because the TV or radio were of any great value. The problem as I saw it was that I used to sleep with a loaded .410 shotgun in the bedroom. I might have shot the SOB. I came up with what turned out to be a kind of cruel joke on him.

I called SOB and got his brother on the phone. I asked bro if SOB had stolen my stuff. He said “yeah.” I told him to tell SOB to meet me after work. I met the psycho, who gave me back my stuff. I told him I spoke with the police, who told me I should tell my friend to get some psychological help, that whoever did something like that had real emotional problems. I made the SOB cry. College kid. I know, that was mean.

This week I ended up working about 30 hours. I got home at 8 p.m. last night and 4:30 this afternoon. Only 30 hours and it seems like I work full-time. That is neither here nor somewhere else. Time for a sandwich.

He ain’t heavy. He’s my huevo.

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side before the egg.

I might have gained a pound or two today but I made up for it in all the gravitas I lost talking to people.

Slightly more than a year before my friend Waldo died of cancer he had abruptly quit teaching high school. It was kind of strange. I don’t know whether it was a premonition of sorts or just somewhat of a mid-life crisis. He didn’t fly the traditional path through life so it can be kind of a poor description to say the man had a mid-life crisis. Given the fact his life ended a year later also kind of shoots that interpretation all to hell. Sorry. If I sound flippant it is because I feel that Waldo’s other close friends, myself certainly included, had a right to take some kind of light from what was definitely a dark time.

I think I only had a pager back then, this being the fall of 1997, and I received a page to call Waldo. I drove down to the Middle Eastern grocery on Seventh and Louisiana, and called him collect. What a concept all that is today. I should have taken a photo of that store with my camera phone for this post. The fall semester of school had just begun it  seemed like several weeks to maybe a month before, thus I was a little taken aback when he told me he had quit teaching or was about to do so.

Of course, the first question I asked was: “What’re you going to do?”

“Well,” he said, in his slow, deliberate East Texas drawl, “I don’t know if I’m going to get a Ph.D. or go coon hunting”

The fact that he was more than capable of doing both but didn’t get to do either, nor did he have time for either, is kind of what makes a story like this pretty much suck. I did have a strange encounter with a coon late one night while by myself at Camp Waldo. He was undergoing chemotherapy and wasn’t even up for a drive out from Jacksonville to Maydelle where his camp of some 200 acres was located.

I had cooked an old country-style Italian cacciatore that night — or so Father Orsini said in his book of recipes — in a big skillet out on the grill which sat at one side of the camp house front porch. It was hot and the camp house, more one of those “manufactured” buildings you see on the lots at the big home improvement stores, was not air conditioned. I ended up sleeping in a rocking chair on the front porch. At my feet was a picnic table Waldo had bought that was made by some FFA boys at the school where he taught. It was late, I put the empty but hunter’s-stew-crusted skillet on the picnic table for me to wash the next day.

In the middle of the night I woke to a “slurping” sound. Not four feet from my feet was a big ol’ coon, just going to town on the remains in that skillet. I guess if I hadn’t been half-asleep I would have put the skillet on the ground for the critter, but instead, I turned on the lights and told it to “get.”

I don’t know what time it was, but I awoke once again. And, just as before, big, Mr. Coon was licking away on that skillet. I shooed the coon away once again. That was the last time I woke before daylight, which is when I woke to see that the coon was not at all concerned about the guy on the porch in the rocking chair. The skillet was licked clean.

What does this all mean? Well, a coon’s got to eat. A man gets to live. And eventually he doesn’t anymore.

I can’t fault anyone’s personal philosophy or faith or their raison d’être, if you like don’t like Freedom Fries and want the terrorists to win. The way I figure it is that a person needs someone to talk with who knows more than you, and that you acknowledge that they know more. The fact that they think they know more is not a good indicator. Even if you have to pay this person, it might be worth one’s while to talk to someone who knows what they are talking about.

Diogenes was looking for an honest man, when he wasn’t … well doing whatever it was he did.

The chicken? It was just searching for the truth, perhaps. Or maybe it was trying to find what it did with the egg.